Tags: Trump Administration | Donald Trump | GOP2016 | irs | taxes | trump

Abolish the IRS and Runaway Spending

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Monday, 18 Apr 2016 01:21 PM Current | Bio | Archive

On our traditional national tax day, 15 April, a front-page Washington D.C. newspaper headline proclaimed, “Federal judge calls IRS untrustworthy in tea party case.” Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reportedly said: “It’s hard to find the IRS to be an agency we can trust.”

One of Judge Sentelle’s former colleagues on the D.C. Circuit, Hon. James L. Buckley, who previously served as one of the U.S. senators from New York, recently described the deeper problems underlying Judge Sentelle’s observation: “runaway spending that threatens to bankrupt us and a Congress that appears unable to deal with long-term problems of any consequence.”

In his 2014 book, “Saving Congress from Itself: Emancipating the States & Empowering Their People,” Judge Buckley proposes this well-reasoned and thought-provoking solution: “Eliminate all federal grants-in-aid to state and local government.”

In contrast, presidential candidate Ted Cruz calls for “abolishing the IRS as we know it.” The Cruz’ campaign website explains, “Cruz’s Simple Flat Tax abolishes the IRS and replaces the byzantine tax code with a simple, fair tax.”

But Cruz’ solution does not address the underlying problems. How can we trust any Washington-based replacement for the IRS, even in the form of “a simple, fair tax,” unless it includes constitutionally-sound checks on the federal power of taxation?

In 1913, the 16th Amendment expanded Congress’ power to tax, providing, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on income, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration,” thereby eliminating the requirement in Article I of the Constitution, that no “direct” taxes, such as an income tax, “shall be laid [by Congress] unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration [of a power] herein.”

But the original intent behind the 16th Amendment has been perverted over time. As explained by Donald Trump on the campaign trail: “When the income tax was first introduced, just one percent of Americans had to pay it. It was never intended as a tax most Americans would pay.”

Not by coincidence according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Taxation Without Exasperation,” six years after the 16th Amendment the States ratified the 18th Amendment, aka prohibition: “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territories subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.”

Here is how the recent Wall Street Journal article answers the question “Who is to blame for saddling us with the income tax?”: “Look no further than the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League. Wanting to wean the federal government from its dependence on excise taxes on liquor, the temperance movement provided much of the grass-roots energy behind the campaign for the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, which authorized the federal government to create the income tax that we all know and loathe.”

Fortunately, 15 years after prohibition, the states and the people came to their senses and replaced the 18th with the 21st Amendment: “Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.”

Based on lessons learned from prohibition and its ties to the 16th Amendment expansion of the federal power of taxation, it would be timely now to talk about not only “abolishing the IRS as we know it,” but also about the root causes of problems at the IRS.

The root causes of problems at the IRS include the “runaway spending that threatens to bankrupt us and a Congress that appears unable to deal with long-term problems of any consequence,” as explained by Judge Buckley, and the perversion of the original intent behind the 16th Amendment over time, as explained by Donald Trump.

The good news is that some constitutional checks on abuses of the taxation power by Congress survived the 16th Amendment. For example, the Constitution still requires that: “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives” (Article I); and “a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time” (Article I).

“We the People” should demand enforcement of the still-existing constitutional checks on the federal government’s taxation power, including that “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representative” (unlike Obamacare, which originated as the “Senate Health Care Bill”), and publication of “a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money.” How smart would that be?

Joseph E. Schmitz served as inspector general of the Dept. of Defense from 2002-2005 and is a Partner in the law firm of Schmitz & Socarras LLP. Read more reports from Joseph E. Schmitz — Click Here Now.
 

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JosephESchmitz
Based on expansion of the federal power of taxation, it would be timely now to talk about not only “abolishing the IRS as we know it,” but also about the root causes of problems at the IRS.
irs, taxes, trump
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2016-21-18
Monday, 18 Apr 2016 01:21 PM
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